Technology has an ever growing place in our lives. A presence that is now spreading to construction sites. Tablets and smart phones, once thought of as fragile, are becoming more durable. Allowing our devices to be more versatile and no longer tools bound to office interiors. Widespread mobile devices have allowed useful jobsite technologies to be developed and utilized in the field. As our phones become increasingly connected to our lives, we are finding new and better ways to make them work for us.
Apps are smaller specialized programs that allow our devices a great amount of versatility. You can now use your phone to take measurements, mark up real photos with dimensions and download a level. Apps like MyMeasure and MagicPlan turn your phone into a tool, almost as versatile as a hammer. MyMeasure allows you to mark up a photo with notes and dimension lines. MagicPlan allows you to automatically get measurements from your photo, however these measurements are still not as accurate as a tape measure and demand a 3” leniency. Level apps are likewise reliable with some margin. However, these tools are getting better with technology advancements everyday.
Wearable technology is also making its way to the work place. Smart Hard Hats are being developed with visors capable of 3d overlays and Augmented Reality (AR). The hard hats are equipped with a 360 degree wireless camera, which would allow for a full view of a workers surroundings. Just as in all wearable technology, the challenge is to incorporate the tech into pieces of clothing or equipment that already exist. Another piece of the construction uniform being outfitted with smart capabilities is the safety vest. The smart vests will use a GPS positioning system that would enable workers to be located within 8 inches of precision For companies, this can translate into functional data about how much man power is needed on a site for a job. The vest can also be paired with sensors to alert road workers to the presence of oncoming traffic, making highway jobsites safer. By incorporating technology in multiple pieces, we are able to gather a wide variety of data to make the industry more cost effective and efficient. “Instead of one big wearable, you need to be thinking of lots of little devices talking to each other” said Tom Martin, Virginia Tech Electrical & Computer Engineering Professor
Augmented Reality (AR) + Virtual Reality (VR)
Design software is becoming increasingly more common. From designing kitchens to skyscrapers, 3D renders are more and more helpful. 3D layouts help give designers and their clients a more clear picture of the project. While the VR experience is still limited and imperfect it is an increasingly useful design tool. It is a great way to explore alternative designs. It can also be used to hold meetings if your team or clients are spread out geographically.
Robot Power Suits: The Ultimate Wearable
Every kids has dreamed of having super strength. With the advancement of prosthetics limbs and mechanical engineering we are getting closer to that reality. Exoskeletons are being developed to be used in place of wheel chairs to help people experience walking again. Those same technologies and suits can be reconfigured to help on construction sites. Lighten beams and heavy objects can now be managed by a few people, rather than a team and a giant machine.
With the advancement and popularity of 3d printing, building and products are on the verge of being cheaper and easier than ever. Houses can now be printed into place. Going up faster with far less man power required. This will massively cut down on labor costs and materials for projects. 3D printers are expected to play big roles in space.
These printers will allow many different styles of joints and pieces to manufactured on demand and at job sites. This may mean the end of making machines specific to making each piece.